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IT’s a Small World: BFS, MakerBot, and Bre Pettis

When BFS parent Nichol Alexander stipulated that his donation be used for technological innovations in the classroom, one of the first decisions the school made was acquiring two MakerBot Replicator 3-D printers.

Coincidentally, Preschool parent Bre Pettis is a co-founder of MakerBot Industries. “The printers are easy enough to use by anyone with passion and my favorite is when teachers get them,” Bre explained.

Blue Room Parents Bre Pettis and Kio Stark

In addition to 3-D design software tools available on the web, our students have access to the MakerBot Nook book, a handy training and idea guide created by Bre. Upper School physics teacher Travis Merritt invited Bre to his IB class as a guest speaker to discuss the potential uses of 3-D printers in scientific experimentation.

Don’t such high-tech devices clash with Quaker ideals of simplicity?  Bre doesn’t think so, and he speaks from a position of experience.  “I was trained to be a teacher at Pacific Oaks, which is a Quaker teacher training school,” he said. “I was also part of a program called Courage to Teach, which taught me how to participate in a clearness committee. I really value the Quaker focus on friendship and non-judgment,” he said.

Bre Pettis

Bre Pettis

Given his deep connection to MakerBot, one might imagine Bre settling in the Silicon Valley instead of Brooklyn, but he was blessed with a unique trajectory. “I was a puppeteer, a school teacher, a videographer. But my superpower is gathering talented people together to do wonderful things,” he said. “As a maker, it was a holy grail to make something that makes things, and so I’ve spent the last six years dedicated to creating tools of manifestation for creative explorers.”

Pictured above: Preschool Blue Room parents Bre Pettis and Kio Stark visited the class to demonstrate a family tradition entitled “The things we make for the people we love.” Using a MakerBot, they made nuts, bolts and medals ahead of time for each of the students, and then proceeded to show the material that was used to make the items in the mobile MakerBot that he brought to school.